Wednesday, December 15, 2004

DaVinci Code

Took up a "fiction" novel after a very long time. After finishing The Lord of the Rings in February, I thought I needed a break before touching another book. So I spent time with some non-fiction kind of things. There were some books that were in the mental waiting list for so long that I had to read them. I bought "7 Habbits of highly effective people" and "Warrior Unleashed" the former was highly recommended in a "soft-skill" training program I attended at work ( and consequently kind of dissapointing) and the latter I just picked it off the shelf in Landmark, Madras and simply loved every bit of it.

As I took up Dan Brown's Da Vinci code, I just had an inklng its a murder-mystery variety. I had never read anything by this author before and usually I take pretty slowly to new authors. Even the PGW ones, I cannot move outside his jeeves stories even though they are touted to be much better than Reginald Jeeves. I haven't kept up with what's what in the book world off-late but looks like DaVinci Code is a pretty popular book. So far I have seen about 100 people at my office bus, canteen, garden sitting around with this book in hand. As I started reading, the first thing that struck me was the James Bond kind of opening scene. You know the one that immediately ropes you into the middle of a tense encounter. The book much like a bond movie starts you up by throwing you into the middle of a tense situation. You dont know what the hell is happening, you put together whatever the characters are talking to each other and try and somehow make some sense out of it. Yes! of course by the time you realize you are involved deep into the book and you are turning pages swiftly. From a marketing standpoint it works! Not that I am against such starts... in fact I love them.

But strangely enough both Warrior Unleashed, written by ex- U.S Marine corps commando started with a similar stunning openening sequence. Where he narrates his experience in the 14 day boot camp that is intended to elimante and separate the boys from the men. "7 habbits.." also begins in a relatively intense situation, where the author's son is suffering from a syndrome and he explains how he went about solving it.

Books work like this mostly. They tie you in on a tense start and then slowly unwrap the environment to flow like a novel. It makes me think.. do the authors feel that a slow start and a build up would probably make the readers put down the book they paid and bought?? I don't know the level of adultration that happens to written work from the time the author feels he has done his final draft till the point the publishing house iterates it over and over to bring it to bestseller level. If it can happen to movie makers it can happen to authors too.

Neither Lord of the Rings nor Fountain Head begins this way. In fact The Fellowship of the Ring is so descriptive and non-action oriented at the start that midway the real readers will get separated from some punk who wants to just get done with the book for a school assignment. Most of the time I was reading it, I was so happy seeing the volume of pages remaining. It just reassured me that there were so many adventures the book was bound to take me to. Fountain head almost dissuades readers from pursuing the book and begins to kick in some action only after the reader persists with the book for quite some time. I guess books written in the first half of the century target people who simply love to read rather than a James Hadley Chase cover page which will attract any passer-by to buy it ( well..that worked for me too and I do think JHC is really good).

Nowadays its more marketing driven with the authors being given statistics on attention span and audience demography by the publishers so that he can have them in his mind while writing. Gone are the days when you will see a writer like the dead serious Somerset Maugham. Nothing wrong with the new age writers but the old ones weren't bad either.

DaVinci code has not dissapointed me so far in the four chapters that I have read. It seems to have setup a plot that makes me wanna read further. And the first chapter was quite stunning indeed. I remember JHC books being advertised as a "real page-turner" . Well So is this one.

Interestingly, Michael Crichton, one of my favorite authors, has come up with a new book called "State of Fear" . It is another thriller but this time it is about global warming. The author, it seems makes a 5 page statement on the non-existence and hype about global warming. Michael Crichton can sometimes go overboard with his fantasy but I love is precise writing style with a lot of analytical bent. His use of italics and bold letters somewhat fascinate me. I haven't yet read "Prey" which is supposed to be another mouth-watery masala thriller. So watch out for State of Fear in a favorite book store near you! :-)


Anonymous said...

These days, I don't feel like reading any fiction at all. The only exception is PGW. I am sure you would have read a lot of his work, but since you mentioned your comfort level with Jeeves, I just want to let you know that there are great classics with Blandings castle and other sundry characters. One of his short stories on Roberta Wickham is a total riot ("Mr. Potter takes a cure") If you have't read it, I highly recommend it.


Anonymous said...

I've read the was good, and kept you guessing till the end, although I am not sure if the facts (he claims) he has presented in the book are all true. I must admit that I enjoyed reading it though.


Alien said...

Although he plays with the facts, and sometimes even distorting them, to show how bad the Catholic Church is, The Da Vinci Code was a good read.

Anoop Sundaram said...

Go ahead and finish the book.. i guess it wont disappoint u.. and oops on State of Fear coz of the slow moving i guess i havent gone beyond 30 odd pages ;-) gotto read it though......

Siladitya said...

Did Steve Harvey copy the book title Act Like A Lady Think Like A Man

and theme from an earlier book?

Book with same title & theme copyrighted and published by Sharon P. Carson in 2003

CHICAGO, IL – Sharon P. Carson the author of the original title: Act Like A Lady –Think Like A Man, watched the February 27th episode of the Ophra show on which Steve Harvey was promoting his book of the same title. She was hoping that Steve would reveal to Oprah where he got the title and the theme for the book. It just seemed odd to her that his book had the same title and theme as her book that was copy written in 2003.

Upon subsequently purchasing the book, she found some interesting parallels and realized that it is not unusual for a high profiled person to take a great title and theme, rewrite a book and use their celebrity status to sell it. This she says happens too often to the unsung poets, authors and entrepreneurs of the world.

Steve wrote in his book that his hope was to “empower you with a wide-open look into the minds of men”. Sharon P. Carson wrote in her book in 2003 that her hope was for women to gain some insight into how men think in terms of relationships. Sharon also noted that in chapter 8 of Steve Harvey’s book titled “Why Men Cheat” he came to the same conclusion that she did in chapter 37 of her book, titled “Why would a man cheat”, and the answer was, “because they can”.

Sharon actively promoted her book before the release in January 2009 of Steve Harvey’s book, and would not like to see her promotion efforts hindered. She feels that her book has much to offer from a woman’s perspective and seeks to empower women to practice self love and tough love in relationships.

Before the publication of Steve Harvey’s book of the same title, Sharon bought the domain name: from which she has been selling her book. She has also held seminars with women at a Chicago University in promotion of her book, and can be viewed on the following youtube clip as she was being interviewed on a cable television program about her book in 2007

Mindful of all the self - published poets and authors who have a hard time finding publishers for their works, Sharon is currently consulting with attorneys regarding her options, and hopes that her book with the first and original title of Act Like A Lady Think Like A Man will finally receive the recognition it deserves for the wisdom, encouragement, and empowerment that it provides to women.

Haiku Poems said...

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Haiku Poems